Said General Motors' President Harlow H. Curtice last week: "Business generally" will "improve as the year progresses." G.M.'s sales for the first quarter were 5% below the 1953 mark, but the drop was largely in military orders. In keeping with Curtice's optimism, G.M., which has been producing cars at a record first-quarter rate this year, announced that its Fisher Body division was adding workers in three plants, putting men on overtime in eight others.

Many other businessmen were whistling cheerful tunes last week. Douglas Aircraft Co. reported first-quarter earnings of $8.9 million,...

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